It's painful to watch. Heart warming. And a bit funny. Alistair Brownlee helping his brother Jonny complete the final 700 metres of the last triathlon of the world series in Mexico.
If you don't know the story and haven't seen the clip. Here it is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/triathlon/37412774
Quick summary: Jonny is in the lead. He needs to win to win the World Series. But he has a habit of getting his tactics wrong and going too quick too early. In the heat of Mexico he does this again. 1km out his legs start to go and he begins to run like a man supported by two jellies. 700 metres out his mind goes and he's wandering all over the place, before he simply stops.
His brother Alistair is just behind neck and neck with a South African. But rather than pressing on to a potential victory. He stops. Slings Jonny's arm over his shoulder and drags him running over the last bit of the race, before unhooking him and literally shoving him over the finish line just ahead of him. The result: Jonny 2nd in race and 2nd in the World series. And a lot of hacked off Spaniards because their man was third (the bloke who won was Spanish as well so I think they can simmer down!).
The response on social media has been huge. People have applauded Alistair. They have spoken of what a beautiful thing he did. How it was such a touching scene. Alistair, being a good Yorkshire lad, has simply said that his brother was an idiot. He could have easily won the race if he hadn't got his tactics so wrong. And he's not going to let him forget it!
We are wired to celebrate sacrifice. Whether it's the Brownlee's or Iron Man in Marvel Avengers. We are deeply moved by people who are willing to risk losing all (all literally lose all) for the sake of others.
It doesn't really make much sense if all we're driven by the evolutionary desire to see the strong win and the weak lose and drop out of the DNA pool. But that's not who we are. We are people created in the image of God, who reveals himself most fully in costly sacrifice.
Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." John 15:13
He died in the place of his people, taking the punishment they deserve. A self-inflicted punishment which is ours because we've been idiots. We have chosen to run the race of life based on our tactics, rather than the God who made us.
But unlike Alistair Brownlee, God doesn't continue to hold our past failure against us. He doesn't remind us of all the ways the we have failed to love him. Rather he says, "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12.
Proof that God's not a Yorkshireman...